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Legend's legacy inspires musical of heroic intellectual
From:chinadaily  |  2020-09-16 07:46

When musician Shen Qing studied at Leshan No 1 High School in Southwest China's Sichuan province in the mid-1980s, he heard stories about Guo Moruo (1892-1978), a celebrity alumnus of the school, whose statue stands at its entrance.

Born in Shawan, a small town of Leshan city, with the name Guo Kaizhen, he became a commanding figure in the Chinese intellectual history, making enormous contributions to literature, archaeology, art and translation, among other areas.

The school, with its name written in Guo's calligraphy, has now set up an exhibition hall to recount the great man's life story and showcase his achievements.

"He was everywhere in the school and I read his legendary stories as a teenager. Because we share the same hometown, I naturally felt close to him," recalls Shen, 50, who moved to Beijing and launched a full-time career as a singer-songwriter in 1990.

Last year, Shen was approached by the local government of Leshan to write a musical based on Guo's early life in Shawan before 1905, when he left his small town to pursue further education at the age of 12.

The two-hour, four-act musical, titled Shaonian Guo Moruo, or Youngster Guo Moruo, will be premiered at Shawan, Leshan, on Sept 18 and will run until Oct 2 with five performances, before touring nationwide.

The musical aims to inspire the younger generation with Guo's stories and boost tourism of the serene, isolated town, which is located along the Dadu River. Besides Shen, the creative team members also include directors Chen Jun and Wen Pei, both veterans of theatrical productions, and Xu Li from the China National Theater for Children.